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Kawasaki 250R Ninja (2008-2011)

£4,649

249cc, 32.5bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 9

The American market has been a big success for the Kawasaki Ninja 250 range for years and years and… But even the Yanks need a fresh brew every now and then and the Ninja 250R is the latest offering. Fortunately for 33bhp probationary riders in mainland Europe and the UK, we are getting the bike too, complete with emissions compliant fuel ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha T-Max (2001-2011)

£8,299

499cc, 40bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

If you want to tour occasionally, a Deauville 650 does it better. If you want to commute, a YP250 Majesty is probably all you'll ever need. So where does that leave the maxi-scooter Yamaha YP500 T-Max? Good fun to ride, but just too expensive for most urban riders sadly.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha YP400 Majesty (2004-current)

£6,299

395cc, 34bhp, 95mph, Insurance group 8

The Yamaha YP400 Majesty is a fair bit heavier than the 250, but has beefed up suspension and a much more touring biased set of bodywork panels. It's supremely comfortable, good on fuel, but the 125/250 Majesty makes a better commuter than the Yamaha YP400 Majesty and the T-Max makes a better maxi scooter for another £700.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CBF250 (2004-2012)

£3,500

249cc, 22bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda CBF250 is a cracking little motorcycle, marketed towards – and perfect for – new bikers or people who want a cheap town motorcycle. Easy to throw around, forgiving of little errors, peanuts to run and with enough power to get you from A to B with modest speed. Learners or commuters will love the Honda CBF250.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Husaberg FE450 (2003-current)

£5,300

449cc, 45bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 11

The Husaberg FE650 is a real beast off-road; and realistically it’s for experienced enduro riders only. It comes with an electric start as well as a kicker, which is a huge bonus. It’s light, quick-steering, rugged and flexible.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki KLE500 (1991-current)

£3,995

498cc, 47bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 9

The original Kawasaki KLE500 was made from 1991-1998. Kawasaki’s idea of a parallel twin commuter-cum-trailie then lay dormant for a few years before being reanimated in 2005. It’s hard to see why Kawasaki bothered to be honest. The new KLE500 is uncomfortable, underpowered, uninspiring and uncommonly greedy. You’d be better off with the old Kawasaki KLE500.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CBF500 (2004-current)

£3,900

499cc, 56bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

One of the best value commuter/novice motorcycles around, the Honda CBF500 is a decently quick twin cylinder motorcycle that's well made, reliable and handles predictably. It does everyhting you can ask in a novice-friendly package and holds its resale value too. Compared to the Kawasaki ER-6 the Honda CBF500 perhaps looks a little bit plain, but some folk prefer less flash.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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CCM FT35S (2005-current)

£5,442

398cc, 45bhp, 93mph, Insurance group 9

The CCM FT35S was built as the bastard offspring of a supermoto motorcycle and a flat-track racing motorcycle comes the road-legal beauty from Britain’s own CCM. Stopping just this side of total two-wheeled self-indulgence the CCM FT35S is for folk who make statements and act the goat with no thought for such dreary irrelevances as practicality or comfort.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Cagiva Canyon 500 (1996-2002)

N/A

499cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 9

There are no end of single cylinder commuter/trailie bikes around if you have the urge, so the Cagiva Canyon loses out for a couple of good reasons in that hard-fought battle for novice biker cash; first off, it's not the most reliable, even by Italian standards. Secondly, it just doesn't have the oomph to match its city slicker looks. What's ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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